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Information as to why NOT to open a hard drive to repair it. - Page 2

post #11 of 65
Good read Xeb!
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post #12 of 65
I've done platter swaps on somewhat older drives for the purpose of getting data back that was worth more than a drive but less than the thousands it would take to send it to professionals with a proper clean room and the right tools.

Sometimes the drives work long enough to recover something, some times they don't, and they almost never work again, but if you understand this (and have already tried a PCB swap), it can be vaguely viable.

I do think the need for alignment of the heads/platters is overstated. Small deviations should be corrected automatically, else normal thermal expansion and contraction would cause drives to become non-functional, instead of just needing a recalibration retry.

Of course, I haven't attempted anything like this with modern PMR drives, or those with multiple platters.
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post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

I've done platter swaps on somewhat older drives for the purpose of getting data back that was worth more than a drive but less than the thousands it would take to send it to professionals with a proper clean room and the right tools.
Sometimes the drives work long enough to recover something, some times they don't, and they almost never work again, but if you understand this (and have already tried a PCB swap), it can be vaguely viable.
I do think the need for alignment of the heads/platters is overstated. Small deviations should be corrected automatically, else normal thermal expansion and contraction would cause drives to become non-functional, instead of just needing a recalibration retry.
Of course, I haven't attempted anything like this with modern PMR drives, or those with multiple platters.

The multiple platters part is what would kill it. I could actually somewhat see it being -sort of viable- on a single platter drive, if you just wanted to try the theory out on a dead drive.

But IIRC, the platter alignment spans across all of the platters, so you'd have to put them on their new spindle in the exact way that they were removed from the original. Else the drive would probably end up mixing clusters up. Terrible at trying to express what I mean, but think RAID 0, with fixed placement of data. Where you took the drives out of the array, and then put them back in a different order. The controller would get blocks all mixed up, because it would look for block A on drive A, and then say, block B for that file would end up being on drive C, but the controller would expect drive B. (Yes, I know RAID doesn't quite work like this).
    
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post #14 of 65
Any ideas as to what one would do if the PCB of the drive blew? I've heard about PCB replacements, I've also heard if you get the wrong one it'll mess up the data. I guess there's a fuse somewhere, it popped when I plugged it in. I've got a drive with data trapped on it. Always back up, people! (Funny but sad thing is, it blew when trying to do a backup.) The drive in question is a Hitachi Deskstar, I don't remember the model number, but I'm pretty sure it ends with "VLA360" and it's 500 GB if that helps. It's about 5, nearly 6 years old, I think. I'll get the model number if I need to.

EDIT: Just wanted to throw in, at least the drive does not smoke. I tried at least once in the past to power it, it just would make the power brick for the external drive enclosure blink its light. I guess that means it shorted.

Also, I have an old WD102AA hard drive that's about 13 years old...it smoked when I put it in a PC once. Hehe, I still remember it scared the wits out of me! That was about...probably around 2 years ago.

EDIT 2: More detail. Also, has anyone actually gotten away with a successful platter swap? Just curious.
Edited by racecar56 - 10/3/12 at 11:31pm
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post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by racecar56 View Post

Any ideas as to what one would do if the PCB of the drive blew? I've heard about PCB replacements, I've also heard if you get the wrong one it'll mess up the data. I guess there's a fuse somewhere, it popped when I plugged it in. I've got a drive with data trapped on it. Always back up, people! (Funny but sad thing is, it blew when trying to do a backup.) The drive in question is a Hitachi Deskstar, I don't remember the model number, but I'm pretty sure it ends with "VLA360" and it's 500 GB if that helps. It's about 5, nearly 6 years old, I think. I'll get the model number if I need to.
EDIT: Just wanted to throw in, at least the drive does not smoke. I tried at least once in the past to power it, it just would make the power brick for the external drive enclosure blink its light. I guess that means it shorted.
Also, I have an old WD102AA hard drive that's about 13 years old...it smoked when I put it in a PC once. Hehe, I still remember it scared the wits out of me! That was about...probably around 2 years ago.
EDIT 2: More detail. Also, has anyone actually gotten away with a successful platter swap? Just curious.

PCB swaps can be done, but you have to make sure that everything is an exact match to your original PCB to ensure that it works right.

Sorry about the misfortune there, died whilst backing up.

About platter swapping, I haven't attempted it. Thought about it though- haha. Blameless said he's done it on older drives, but only from a recovery standpoint.
    
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post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezmenir View Post

The multiple platters part is what would kill it. I could actually somewhat see it being -sort of viable- on a single platter drive, if you just wanted to try the theory out on a dead drive.
But IIRC, the platter alignment spans across all of the platters, so you'd have to put them on their new spindle in the exact way that they were removed from the original. Else the drive would probably end up mixing clusters up. Terrible at trying to express what I mean, but think RAID 0, with fixed placement of data. Where you took the drives out of the array, and then put them back in a different order. The controller would get blocks all mixed up, because it would look for block A on drive A, and then say, block B for that file would end up being on drive C, but the controller would expect drive B. (Yes, I know RAID doesn't quite work like this).

Probly somthing like that would happen would be a huge pain to get it perfect. But if its like raid 0 and maybe the controler can keep track of what goes where you can hook up hardrives in raid 0 in any order and it will rebuild it perfectly without any loss of data.
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post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezmenir View Post

PCB swaps can be done, but you have to make sure that everything is an exact match to your original PCB to ensure that it works right.
Sorry about the misfortune there, died whilst backing up.
About platter swapping, I haven't attempted it. Thought about it though- haha. Blameless said he's done it on older drives, but only from a recovery standpoint.

I sure hope I can pull off a data recovery someday! Well, I do know where to get a similar hard drive, I recall it's the same model but it says "VLA380" instead of "VLA360". They're both Hitachi Deskstars of 500 GB, and they came from two different PC brands. The 380 is in a computer that a few months older (I think late 2007 vs. early 2008, could be wrong though). I don't want to screw up either of the drives, though.

I wonder if I could just bypass or replace a fuse.
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post #18 of 65
Thread Starter 

On the subject of PCB swaps. You have to make sure you have 2 of the EXACT same drive models. Then from there you need to get 2 drives from roughly around the same manufacturing time. If they are more than 2 weeks apart, it will not work. Plus you have to find a drive that was made in the same plant. You have 2 drives, one from china and the other from taiwan, both are the same drive, but the PCB layout is different. Won't work. 

 

Same model

Same manufacturing date

Same point of origin. 

 
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post #19 of 65
I've had a few hard drives that have been in storage for a few years now (old ide/sata ones) that failed to spin up completely.

Years ago I read somewhere that dropping the drives onto the floor helps (if you just want to recover some data) but I thought that was a bit extreme so from a considerable distance I dropped the drives flat onto my hand, then gave them a good tap on the sides and what do you know? You hear the discs spin inside.

Plugged them back up and viola! Still working till this day. Although I'm currently looking to replace them with a single drive for the convenience.
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post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Xeb View Post

On the subject of PCB swaps. You have to make sure you have 2 of the EXACT same drive models. Then from there you need to get 2 drives from roughly around the same manufacturing time. If they are more than 2 weeks apart, it will not work. Plus you have to find a drive that was made in the same plant. You have 2 drives, one from china and the other from taiwan, both are the same drive, but the PCB layout is different. Won't work. 

Same model
Same manufacturing date
Same point of origin. 

I guess I would have to find a drive on eBay then that is the same date and whatever, then. I hope it's just a fuse so I could bypass/replace it. If I do, then I'll backup as fast as I can!
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Core 2 Duo T7200 (undervolted) Quanta 30BD GeForce Go 7600 @ 560/400 Avant Technology  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital WD1600BEVS Something that annoys me. Original fan and heatsinks, even after all thes... Windows 8.1 32-bit 
PowerAudio
HP 90W Adapter Conexant HD Audio 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Turion 64 MT-32 Quanta 3091 Radeon Xpress 200M 2x512MB DDR SODIMM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung HM160HC Some DVD drive A fan Windows XP 
MonitorPower
1280x768 14.1" LCD HP DC359A power brick 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Hard Drives & Storage › Information as to why NOT to open a hard drive to repair it.